Having been devoted to the research of mushrooms for over four decades, Professor Kwan Hoi Shan from School of Life Sciences has never stopped in finding ways to unleash the potential of mushrooms with his teams of Mushroom-X, a social enterprise established in March 2018, and Food Research Centre.
Mushrooms not only serve as food, its vegetative part called mycelium can form biomaterials as well. Teams collect and upcycle food and wood wastes such as coffee grounds, bean dregs, and wood chips by mixing them with cultivated mycelium. The mixture will then grow into mouldable, flexible, and 100% biodegradable biomaterials, which are ideal alternatives to plastic and bricks for product packaging and thermal insulation of buildings.
The potential of mushrooms has not reached the end yet. The Food Research Centre has achieved a breakthrough in developing new technology of which a provisional US patent has been obtained, to suppress fungal bricks from further growing without killing the mycelium. The biomaterials can even self-repair if there are brick cracks.